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Women's Prisons: Per Capita Costs

Volume 499: debated on Wednesday 11 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much on average it cost to maintain a place in a women's prison in each of the last three years. (295202)

The local establishments' average direct cost per place in women's prisons for the last three years is shown in the following table.

All female establishments

Direct cost per place (£)

2006-07

36,009

2007-08

39,189

2008-09

37,701

In 2007-08 Cookham Wood was re-rolled from female to male which partly explains the higher cost in 2007-08 relative to the other two years.

The direct cost per place for 2008-09 is shown net of income from the Department of Health and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, whereas for earlier years it is gross. This partly explains the reduction in cost in 2008-09.

Traditionally HMPS annual accounts have published the cost per place using only costs met by establishments. For 2007-08 and 2008-09 a more comprehensive cost has been calculated which includes prison related costs met centrally by HMPS and NOMS, and these are shown in the following table.

All female establishments

Total overall cost per place (£)

2007-08

53,333

2008/09

51,707

Year-on-year comparisons can be difficult to make, for example because of changes in accounting treatment or of prison categories.

The costs relate to establishments whose predominant category of prisoner is female. Income from the Youth Justice Board (YJB) in respect of services recharged to the YJB is excluded.

The overall average costs comprise the public sector establishments' direct resource expenditure, increased by an apportionment of costs borne centrally by HMPS and the NOMS; and the resource expenditure of contracted-out prisons also increased by certain costs borne centrally. This involves some estimation. The figures do not include prisoners held in police and court cells under Operation Safeguard, nor expenditure met by other Departments (e.g. for health and education). The prisoner escort service is included.